Doctors across Dudley are urging people to make sure that all elderly family members and neighbours are stocked-up with medicines and supplies as weather forecasters predict unsettled weather and a cold snap.
Dr Steve Mann from Dudley CCG said: “Having basic provisions in the house just in case the weather takes a turn for the worst is a quick job that can make life much easier, especially if you are elderly or live in a rural area.
“We know that the older people are the less of an appetite they have. There may be a number of reasons for this. In some cases, it’s as simple as badly fitting dentures or poor eyesight which puts them off buying and preparing food. Loneliness can play a part, as can monotonous meals. But nutritious food and plenty of warm drinks help people stay warm and well. That’s why it’s really important to have a well-stocked food cupboard with plenty of choice.”
“We would encourage everyone to make sure they only go out in bad weather if they really need to, and to keep an eye on elderly neighbours and relatives.”
It’s also important to keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet for minor illnesses alongside any regular medication taken.
A fully stocked first-aid kit includes pain killers such as asprin, paracetamol and ibuprofen as well as bandages, plasters, thermometer, antiseptic, eyewash solution, sterile dressings, medical tape for dressings and tweezers.
Oral rehydration salts help after diarrhoea and vomiting to help replace lost minerals and fluid.
Anti-diarrhoea tablets relieve symptoms of diarrhoea, but they will not help with the underlying cause.
If you’re already on medication, make sure you’re not going to run out. GP practices now offer a service called Patient Online where patients can register to request repeat prescriptions online as well as book appointments and see some of their health records. Patients simply need to go into their practice and complete a form.
Those with long term conditions who are unsure which over the counter medicines to take with their regular medication can talk to a pharmacist.
Dr Mann added: “If you are staying in because the weather is bad it’s important to keep active and mobile. Make sure your home is warm, at least 18c. That as well as nutritious food and the right medication will help you stay well over winter.”
For more information on visit www.nhs.uk/staywell